7 Energy Efficiency Tips While on Vacation This Summer
Summer is when your energy bills are highest, especially if you live in the Dallas area and run your air conditioner nearly 24/7. If you have summer vacation plans, this is your chance to relax and refresh. With the right preparations, you can even reduce your home electric bill while you’re away.
Ways to Save Energy While on Vacation
When you’re not at home using the computer, turning on lights, or watching TV, you automatically save some energy while on vacation. Boost your savings even more with these tips:
- Turn up the temperature: You may think shutting off the thermostat altogether is the best choice, but your home could become excessively hot and humid if you do. A good compromise between saving energy and protecting your home is to set the temperature between 80 and 85 degrees. If you have a programmable thermostat, be sure to use the vacation/permanent hold rather than the temporary hold.
- Put the water heater in vacation mode: Look for a temperature knob on the side of your water heater tank. Turn it as far as possible toward the “vacation” setting. This lowers the temperature without completely turning off the water heater. You’ll be glad you chose this setting when the water heats back up quickly, allowing you to take a hot shower after return from vacation.
- Unplug electronics and appliances: Unplug everything from the coffee maker and toaster in the kitchen to the TV and DVD player in the living room to the computer and printer in the office. The easiest method is to plug everything into power strips and turn them off with the flip of a switch. Just remember to keep your DVR plugged in if you have TV shows scheduled to record.
- Turn off the ceiling fan: As you go around unplugging electronics, don’t forget to turn off the ceiling fan in the living room. In fact, you should do this every time the room is vacant. Since the wind chill effect created by a ceiling fan cools people without actually lowering the temperature in the room, this habit helps you save energy.
- Use light timers: A completely dark house is the most energy efficient, but this invites intruders to take a look. Throw them off by setting a lamp or two on a timer. Burglars won’t risk breaking into a house with a warm glow coming from the living room.
- Lower the blinds and close the curtains: Even with the thermostat turned up, the AC will still run a little while you’re on vacation. To reduce interior heat gain, block the sun shining in through your windows. This also improves privacy and security by preventing anyone from looking inside.
- Save on refrigeration costs: Aside from the air conditioner, the refrigerator is the hardest working appliance in your home. Set the fridge temperature to 42 degrees F and the freezer to 5 degrees F. These settings are higher than usual, but your food will remain chilled because the doors stay shut continually. If you will be gone for a few weeks, now’s your chance to clear food out of the fridge, clean the appliance, and unplug it to maximize your savings.